It was comedy of errors at the Yenagoa Township Stadium on Saturday as Bayelsa United forced Dolphins to a draw that was 1-1.
The first half started with both sides being careful, trying hard not to make mistakes though there were even exchanges on both sides.
But it was former Bayelsa United boy, Emma Nwachi who got yellow carded in the 32nd minute for an over zealous tackle.
Dolphins’ Sunday Mbah (pic)
Three minutes later, Dolphins Salisu Yusuf thought he had scored but he blasted wide when half the ground thought his shot had gone in.
Uche Oguchi had laid on for Joseph Obinna on the right and he crossed into the box for Salisu who shot wide.
Bayelsa United soon returned the compliment when Ubale Mannir waltzed through the Dolphins defence but his shot was deflected by Dolphins Emma Godwin for a corner that was wasted.
Diri Otimoti a minute later beat the offside trap of Dolphins but shot wide with just Sunday Rotimi in goal to beat.
At the start of the second half Chibuzor Okonkwo who had been making dangerous forays upfront all through the first half let loose a shot from about 30 yards but Rotimi punched clear for a corner.
Nine minutes into the second half, a well worked out move by the home side ended with Mannir Ubale trying a spectacular bicycle kick but Sunday Rotimi stood his ground and stopped the ball from going in.
Three minutes later, Nazifi Amani pulled down Joseph Obinna who had side stepped him on the right and the referee called a free kick.
The kick was taken by Sunday Oguchi and the goalkeeper, Niyi Fabiyi clearly mistiming the ball, caught the air while Joseph Obinna calmly nodded for the first goal of the match.
Bayelsa United’s coach, David Ngodingha brought in Selepri George to replace Akeem Yakubu to spice things up in the midfield.
67 minutes on the clock and Mannir Ubale would blame himself for not scoring.
Emma Godwin failed to communicate well with his goalkeeper and then he cleared onto the path of Ubale who tried to chip Sunday Rotimi from outside the box but it missed by inches.
After that, Dolphins, Stanley Eguma brought in Daddy Maurice for Salisu Yusuf while Bayelsa replaced Ubale with Andrew Micheal and then goalkeeper Bassey Akpan went in for a fumbling Niyi Fabiyi.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Dolphins replaced a tired Jonah Abutu with Chukky Sampson but three minutes later new boy, Andrew scored off a Sunday Rotimi blunder though he didn’t know much about it.
Rotimi, rather than catch a free kick punched it down and it hit the onrushing Andrew for Bayelsa United’s equaliser.
Osita Echendu replaced Joseph Obinna for Dolphins but eventually both side settled for a draw.
Bayelsa United’s coach, David Ngodingha said after the match that the rain killed the beauty of the game.
“You saw how the rain almost messed up the game and eventually it was two cheeky goals caused by goalkeeper blunders.”
He would also not agree that home advantage did not work for his side in the game.
“It is not about home advantage. Though we had a one hundred percent record when we won the league last season but it is common knowledge that our away form won the league for us. This is just one of those games against a rival side.”
Stanley Eguma of Dolphins believed it was a match his side would have won.
“I commend the two sides for giving the fans something to be happy about but I say it is a game we should have won.
“The keeper made a mistake that gave Bayelsa the equaliser. I won’t be killing him though because it was a human error and we will just talk about it,” Eguma said.
By this victory, Dolphins move from 11th to 7th on the Nigeria Premier League table while Bayelsa United are 14th.
In other results played on Saturday, Kwara United and Shooting Stars battled to 0-0 in Ilorin, Sharks got their first win of the season, beating Lobi Stars 3-1.
In Gombe, Gombe United beat Sunshine Stars 2-1 and Ranchers Bees fought out Wikki Tourists 2-1.